Sunday, June 17, 2012

Farewell Fun

I promised I would report on how the farewell went last week.  This week has been so crazy that it has taken me a week to get around to that, but I figured people still might like to hear about it.  A week ago today, I gave my farewell talk in church.  It was about President Monson's talk, "The Race of Life," that he gave in the most recent General Conference.  It briefly covers the answers to life's greatest questions: Where did we come from? Why are we here? and Where do we go after we leave this life?  In short, it covered the Plan of Salvation.  It took me a while to figure out how to write the talk in the way that the Lord wanted, but the finished product turned out very well.  I received a ton of compliments about the content of my talk and my delivery.  I really appreciated all of the comments people gave me.

Afterward, I went back to my house, where we had a family lunch.  It was so wonderful to interact with everyone there and to chat and laugh and just have a great time.  I will miss all of the wonderful people in my life, and I was glad I had the opportunity to visit with them.  What a wonderful day!  So full of love, gratitude, and the Spirit of the Lord.

I was also grateful to have the chance to interact with some great friends at my farewell party on Friday.  We chatted, ate yummy treats, and just had a great time together.  Again, I will miss them all a lot, but I'm grateful we could have so much fun together.  I love you all!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Small Miracles

Just over an hour ago, my dad was watering the lawn and noticed smoke coming from our neighbor's backyard.  He assumed our neighbor was having some kind of bonfire in his backyard, though my dad couldn't see the source of the fire because the neighbor's shed was in the way.  When my dad got close enough to see around the shed, he realized that the vines on the neighbor's back fence were completely ablaze!  He immediately grabbed a bucket and started throwing water from the canal onto the fire.  Fortunately, he was able to put out the fire before it had a chance to spread to anything besides the vines.

I thought about how many small miracles played into this big miracle.  First of all, the fact that my dad was outside at the time was a huge blessing.  We're not sure how the fire was started; it may have been because of the highly flammable cottonwood seeds that have been blowing all over our neighborhood recently.  Whatever the cause, we're just grateful my dad was able to put out the fire before it spread; it was possible that it could have spread to someone's shed or something else valuable.  Second, the fact that our houses are right in front of a canal, an easily accessible water source, was indispensable.  I don't know how my dad would have put the fire out otherwise.  Third, that the fire was caught early enough that it hadn't spread.  It was a tense and scary few minutes, but I am just grateful for the little miracles the Lord sent our way today.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Arielle's Gone AWOL

So...there I was, making all these grand promises that I was going to be better about blogging and then...nothing for over a month.  Sorry everyone.  I guess that's good preparation for three weeks from now when I won't be blogging anything for eighteen months!  :)  That's right, my MTC report date, June 20th, is fast approaching.  This is part of the reason why I haven't written in the past little while.  I have a million and one things to do every day and enough time to do about four of them.  But I'll give you a quick overview of what I've been up to besides the mission preparations.

At the end of April and beginning of May, I spent a glorious week in the company of my two awesome friends, Jill and Allie.  Jill and I rode together with her family to California, where we met up with Allie, who lives there. We had a fun day in Disneyland and then several awesome days hanging out at Allie's house and cabin: playing games, watching movies, eating ice cream, seeing the Avengers, spending a day at Yosemite National Park, chatting, singing along to our favorite music, and all-around having a glorious time!  What a wonderful graduation present!

On April 21st, I went to the Jordan River Temple and received my endowment.  I have been back to the Jordan River Temple several times and have even had the opportunity to do a session at the Salt Lake Temple. It has been a wonderful experience to see and learn all the incredible things that the endowment contains.  I'm looking forward to all the future visits I will make to the temple and the wonderful things I will be able to learn there.

In the meantime, I've been spending the majority of my time working for my grandmother (to serve the dual purpose of helping her and making a little extra money for my mission), shopping and completing all the other tasks necessary for my mission, and spending as much time as possible with my family.  I've got a couple of other interesting stories to tell, but this post is getting long enough.  :)  I'll post some more in a little while.  :)

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

So Close, and Still So Far

Well, after filling nearly every free hour of my day with unpacking, sorting, packing, and storing, I am almost done going through all of my boxes from Provo!  I just have a few small piles of stuff left to sort through; it probably amounts to about two boxes of stuff.  Still, since I started out with ten to fifteen boxes, I think I'm doing a pretty good job!  :)  Too bad I won't be done with the packing and sorting once that's done.  Nope, then it's on to the packing for the mission!

Note to self: once I have my own house, I don't ever want to have to move again!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Welcome, Welcome, Sabbath Morning

This morning when I woke up, I realized two things.  First, I remembered that my family has 11:00 church, which means we're out by 2:00!  Hallelujah!  1:30 church was about to do me in!  I'll actually have time to do stuff after church!  :)  The other thing that I remembered is that I no longer have any callings.  As sad as that realization is, because it reminds me that I've moved out of my Provo ward, at this particular moment, it is a huge relief!  I'm accustomed to my Sundays being packed with at least one choir practice (sometimes two, depending on upcoming stake conferences), visiting teaching, home teaching, and other meetings, activities, and tasks to be attended and accomplished.  Now, today, the only thing I need to do is attend church.  That's it!  I don't think I've been able to say that for about two years!  And after the insanity of the past two weeks, I need a true Sabbath day.  Thank goodness!  Welcome, welcome, Sabbath morning.  Now we [truly] rest from every care.  :)

Friday, April 20, 2012


So today was the big day for me: Convocation!  For those who don't know how graduation works, Commencement is the ceremony for all BYU graduates (nearly 6,000 this year!); then there are convocations for each of the colleges within BYU.  The convocation for the McKay School of Education started at 8:00 a.m. in the Smith Fieldhouse.  Graduates needed to be there at 7:00 to prepare.  So I got up early this morning, and Toni (that fantastic girl!) came over early to fix my hair and do my makeup again.  Then I was off!

At 7:45, all of the graduates lined up for the processional...but I wasn't with them.  I was with the faculty so I could sit on the stage!  I was one of the two students in the McKay School of Education who graduated suma cum laude (top one percent), and each of us was asked to speak at convocation!  Holy cow!  When I got onto the stage and looked out at how many people were sitting there in the audience, I definitely got a little nervous.  :)  Make that a lot nervous!  :)  But in a matter of moments I found the row that contained seven people who were there just for me: my mom, my dad, my grandmother, and my friends Jill, Toni, Alicia, and Jenni.  I was thrilled to have such wonderful people to share this day with.

Well, everything proceeded exactly as I'd hoped.  I was first on the program, which was definitely nice.  That way I wouldn't have to sit and be nervous during the rest of the proceedings.  :)  My speech went really well (I posted it two posts ago), and I got a ton of compliments afterward--both from people I knew well and from people I'd never met before!  And the rest of the convocation was great as well!  I now have my diploma cover, and before long I'll get a fun piece of mail that I can add to it!  :)  When Convocation was over, I found my family and friends and got congratulations from each of them.  And I also got to spend a few minutes with Devyn and Rylee, the two girls who have shared many of my favorite experiences in the Communication Disorders major.  I was so grateful to share this day with such incredible people!  What a wonderful day!

What a Weekend!

Well, the seemingly unattainable has finally happened: I am officially a BYU graduate! These past few days have been jam packed; there's been enough stuff going on in the past 48 hours to fill two normal weeks!

The fun started on Wednesday night when I finished my last final exam of my undergraduate career--my final final...hee hee!  :)  I had been freaking out all day because the final wasn't scheduled until 5:45, and it was going to be my hardest of the four.  When I finished it, I was almost giddy with relief and excitement.  Jill enjoyed watching me get super excited throughout the evening.  :)

Well, in celebrating, Jill and I stayed up way too late, but we still got up early the next morning to go to the temple.  We went with our mutual friend Toni, and it was such a beautiful and peaceful experience.  To be at the temple with two of my favorite people?  You can't get much better than that!  Afterwards, we went to breakfast together, which was super fun as well!  Then I spent a good part of the morning cleaning and packing as well as preparing for the big event of the afternoon: Commencement!

First, Toni did my hair and makeup for Commencement, and she did a fantastic job!  Then I went to the Smoot Building at 3:00 along with the rest of the graduates to prepare for the processional.  I was fortunate to find several friends from my major so that we could walk together and then sit together.  And one of the best things about Commencement was that it was short!  :)  The actual ceremony started at 4:00, and we were done by about 5:00!  The ceremony itself was a great experience, and I'm glad I was able to participate.

Once Commencement was over, I met up with my parents so we could take pictures, and then we headed back to my apartment.  The rest of the evening wasn't exactly enjoyable, but it was productive.  :)  My parents and I loaded most of my stuff into our 12-seater van so my parents could take it home with them.  Then Jill and I spent the rest of the evening (and ended up staying up late again, blast it all) cleaning the apartment and preparing to check out.  Then I could hardly sleep at all last night because of the anticipation for today.  :)

Okay, this post is long enough.  I think I'll just post it and do a separate one for today, because today has been a huge day in and of itself.  :)

Convocation Speech

In a few short moments, we will shift the tassels on our caps from the left to the right, signifying the successful completion of our respective degrees.  But can such a small formality really represent all that each of us has experienced here at Brigham Young University?  Absolutely not.  Some of us are receiving bachelor’s degrees, some, master’s degrees, and some, doctorate degrees.  But whether you’ve attended BYU for two years or ten years, for teaching or for psychology, I am certain that your educational pursuits have had a profound impact on your life.

Brigham Young University has so many incredible benefits for every student and faculty member.  One of the greatest, in my opinion, is the atmosphere of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Here on this beautiful campus, we have attended devotionals and firesides, we have prayed before classes and campus events, we have held church meetings in buildings dedicated to our Heavenly Father, and we have shared our testimonies in countless ways.  Why have we been able to experience both the spiritual and the secular in one place?  The answer is that education and learning are a central component of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Elder David A. Bednar has said (quote) “the overarching purpose of Heavenly Father’s great plan of happiness is to provide His spirit children with opportunities to learn…you and I are here upon the earth to prepare for eternity, to learn how to learn, to learn things that are temporally important and eternally essential, and to assist others in learning wisdom and truth.”  (end quote)  It is imperative for all faithful members of the gospel to gain as much education as we can, both in religious learning and in secular learning.  For, as is stated in Proverbs chapter 1, verse 5, “A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels.”

I think talking about the importance of education to this particular audience may be preaching to the choir.  It’s clear that most, if not all, of the graduates in this room understand the importance of education, or they wouldn’t be here.  So why am I talking about the importance of education now?  We’re about to receive our diplomas that will signify the end of this chapter in our lives.  So are we done?  No!  I believe that our diplomas do not so much signify the end of one chapter in our lives as they do the beginning of another.  Education will not end here for any of us.  Brigham Young taught, (quote) “We do not expect to cease learning while we live on earth; and when we pass through the veil, we expect still to continue to learn and increase our fund of information. That may appear a strange idea to some; but it is for the plain and simple reason that we are not capacitated to receive all knowledge at once. We must therefore receive a little here and a little there.” (end quote)

In addition to President Young’s wisdom, Elder Bednar gives us insights on BYU’s well known adage: “Enter to learn; go forth to serve.”  (quote)  “This expression certainly does not imply that everything necessary for a lifetime of meaningful service can or will be obtained during a few short years on this campus. Rather, the spirit of this statement is that students come to receive foundational instruction about learning how to learn and learning to love learning.”  (end quote)  Each of us has had the opportunity to learn to love learning.  Now as we embark on the next phase of our lives, each of us will have the chance to demonstrate our love of learning in our future endeavors.

For those who will be going on to earn another collegiate degree, be it a second bachelor’s, a master’s, or a doctorate, continuing on in education will be simple.  But what about those who, once they leave this room, will be closing the door on their formal, classroom learning?  To those people, I quote President Thomas S. Monson, who says, “some of the most effective teaching [and learning] takes place other than in the chapel or the classroom.”  There are so many ways that each of us can continue to learn and educate ourselves beyond formal schooling.  We can learn as we excel in the workplace.  We can attend seminars and other forms of continued education in our respective fields.  We can better ourselves in the pursuit of our talents and interests.  And we can do as the Lord directs: “seek ye diligently and teach one another words of wisdom; yea, seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom; seek learning, even by study and also by faith.”

And, of course, we can all continue to teach.  Prophets throughout the ages have taught us the importance of teaching to every society.  President Brigham Young once said, “A good school teacher is one of the most essential members in society.”  Proverbs chapter 9, verse 9 instructs, “Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be yet wiser: teach a just man, and he will increase in learning.”  Doctrine and Covenants section 88, verses 77 and 78, states, “I give unto you a commandment that you shall teach one another the doctrine of the kingdom. Teach ye diligently and my grace shall attend you.”  And President David O. McKay, after whom our college is named, once said, “No greater responsibility can rest upon any man [or woman], than to be a teacher of God’s children.”

This responsibility does not just rest on those in this room who are receiving degrees in teaching or special education.  President Boyd K. Packer maintains that, (quote) “Everybody is a teacher—the leader is a teacher; the follower is a teacher; the counselor is a teacher; the parents are teachers. So we have a responsibility to learn the principles of teaching.”  (end quote)  By President Packer’s logic—whether you want to be an elementary school teacher or a speech therapist, a psychologist or an audiologist—everyone in this room will be a teacher.

Teaching does not always have to involve a set curriculum or a pile of textbooks.  It does not have to be done in a classroom where the learners sit at their desks and the teacher stands at the blackboard.  Teaching can be as simple as helping a child learn to tie shoes or discover the wonders of a musical instrument.  Some will teach in schools, some in the community, some in church, and some at home.  Each teaching opportunity is critical for our own growth as well as for the growth of those who will benefit from our teaching.

The most important thing to remember is to be the best teachers we can be.  Again, the scriptures and living prophets have given us guidance to be effective teachers in all aspects of our lives.  Alma chapter 1, verse 26, demonstrates a community of effective teachers: “for the preacher was no better than the hearer, neither was the teacher any better than the learner; and thus they were all equal, and they did all labor, every man according to his strength.”  We must never set ourselves above those whom we teach.  We must all work together for the betterment of all.  And, as President Thomas S. Monson states, “We should ever remember that we not only teach with words; we teach also by who we are and how we live our lives.”  Let us all live in such a way that our examples shine to the world.

Finally, President Boyd K. Packer says that, “to be a good teacher you must also be a willing learner.”  And so we come full circle.  We entered this university to learn, and we have each done so in a variety of ways.  Now it is our time to go forth and serve, to be teachers and learners in all that we do.  May we all strive to increase our understanding throughout our lives, that we may be the best learners and teachers that we can.  Thank you, and congratulations!

Delivered by Arielle Myers (Communication Disorders Bachelor of Science, Suma Cum Laude) at the Convocation of the McKay School of Education, April 20, 2012

Monday, April 16, 2012

Final Sunday

Yesterday was my last Sunday in my Provo ward.  I kept saying that throughout the day, to myself and to other people, but I don't think it's really sunk in yet.  Otherwise I would have cried more than the one time I did cry.  :)  But maybe it's a good thing I didn't completely go to pieces yesterday.  :)

But it was a wonderful last Sunday!  Because Easter Sunday was also our Fast Sunday, we decided to have our Easter program yesterday instead.  It was a beautiful program!  The choir performed two numbers, and we had two wonderful speakers and four other musical numbers--a flute, a pianist, a vocalist, and a harp.  All of them were fantastic!  My favorite (without any bias, I can assure you...) was the final choir number.  We sang "Consider the Lilies," which we had been working on for months.  And it really turned out so well!  I love how in choirs and orchestras alike, even when things are still a little shaky in the final rehearsal, they almost always seem to just...come together for the performance.  It was a wonderful final day as ward choir director!

It was also wonderful throughout the day to see the friends I've made in the ward.  Many of them (including the bishopric) told me that things just won't be the same without me there.  While I know life will certainly go on without me there, it is nice to know I've had an influence on some people's lives.  I hope it was a good one.  :)  I am grateful for all the fond memories I've made here in this ward, and I will miss all of my friends a great deal. Love you all!

Saturday, April 14, 2012


Today I attended the funeral for Celeste, held the day after what would have been her 23rd birthday.  It was definitely a bittersweet event.  I can't say I love funerals (who can say they can?), but there's something about them that provides a great deal of closure and peace for me.

For one thing, it was wonderful to see some friends I hadn't seen for a long time.  Would that it could have been under better circumstances.  It's unfortunate that sometimes the only way to get people together is for things like this.  Still, at least there was a silver lining in all this.

Additionally, the service for Celeste was absolutely wonderful.  The memories that different family members and friends shared about Celeste were perfect--some even had me rolling on the floor laughing :)--and the musical selections were beautiful.  I feel like it was exactly what Celeste would have wanted.  After having the chance to remember how amazing Celeste is (is, not was) and to remind ourselves that this is not the end, I am much more at peace.  I'm grateful I was able to make it to the funeral and that it was such a beautiful service.  My prayers continually go out to her family and friends who still grieve her loss and will never stop missing her.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Reflections on BYU

Wednesday was my last day of classes for my undergraduate career here at BYU.  Despite how burned out I am and how excited I am to be graduating, the realization was still a bittersweet moment.  As I've been thinking about my time here at BYU and the experiences I've had here, I've decided to be a little cliche and spend some time reflecting on what I've done in these past four years.

When I first realized that the Lord wanted me to go to BYU (not the U of U, on which I'd originally planned), I had no idea just how much following His counsel would change and bless my life.  In my first year, I moved from home and spent a great deal of time feeling homesick and lonely.  But I soon realized that, once I became accustomed to the atmosphere in Provo and the idea of being away from home, I thrived on being independent and testing my ability to succeed in the world on my own.  I made a great number of friends that I never would have made if I had not taken the huge leap of faith to move out on my own.  I changed my major twice and found myself in English and Editing, which was (I thought) the perfect major for me.  I grew spiritually and discovered more about myself.  I hiked Mount Timpanogos in the fall and hiked the Y in the spring.  I "wrote a musical" and developed my musical skills in several ways.  I left that first year excited to move home but still with great anticipation for what future years would bring.

And so I moved on to my second, third, and fourth years at BYU.  The changes that occurred in my life during those years were not as dramatic or immediate as the changes from my first year, but they have still been very real.  I changed my major one more time to Communication Disorders, the major I'm now graduating in.  I took the GRE and applied to grad school.  I found a housing situation that has suited me very well for three years.  I've had some roommate situations which were less-than-ideal and some that were incredibly wonderful.  I've had some teachers and classes that drove me nuts from day one and some that have reminded me of why I love school and learning so much.  I've developed my musical talents in ways I would never have expected, from orchestra and cello lessons to singing to private organ lessons to choral conducting.  I've conducted 14 ward choir numbers and 4 stake choir numbers.  I've had several different callings and tried my best to serve others in school and in my ward.  I've experienced great sorrow and trials, but I've also experienced an equal measure of happiness and joy.  I've been positively influenced by many different people, and I hope that I've been able to be a positive influence on some of the people I've met.  I know that the things I've learned and experienced in the past four years will have a positive impact on the rest of my life, and I'm so grateful for my time here at BYU.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Tribute to Celeste

Yesterday I received the kind of news no one ever wants to receive.  My dear friend Celeste ( had been battling Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma since June of last year.  I followed her blog closely and cheered her on, hoping desperately that she would one day be able to overcome the dreadful disease and live a long and happy life.  But the Lord had something else in mind for her.  She passed away yesterday morning, and the world is darker because of it.

I knew Celeste when we were both in high school.  She was in the grade above me and often hung out with my older brother and his group of friends.  That's how I got to know her.  She was an incredible pianist.  She played an amazing concerto in our high school's concerto night, and she accompanied me when I played a cello solo at Regional and then State Solo and Ensemble Festival, where I received the top rating.  She made me sound good.  :)

Celeste was one of those people who always lived life to the fullest.  She was always so happy and cheerful, and she never failed to brighten my day.  Even when she was suffering and miserable during her months of chemotherapy and hospitalizations, she was always so optimistic and full of life.  She is an incredible example to me of courage and faith.  I love her and miss her so much.

I think our mutual friend Becca put it the best when she said, "Take a break and relax, honey. You're fight's over. You're home."

Monday, April 9, 2012

Happy 100th Post!

This is my 100th post on my blog!  Sweet!  In a little less than a year, I have blogged 100 times.  Crazy!  What's even crazier is that people are actually reading what I write!  :)  So in honor of y 100th post, I thought I'd elaborate on my Facebook status from a couple of days ago about seeing double.  :)  Don't remember or didn't see the post?  Well, let me quote it for you (or at least paraphrase it; Facebook is being dumb, so I may not successfully put the post word-for-word...)

"Today I practiced two different instruments, made two trips to Wal-Mart, had two cell phones on my person for about two hours, and wrote two pages of text that will be read in front of over two thousand people. Is it just me, or am I seeing double?"

Confused?  Well, that was kind of the point.  :)  However, I thought you might enjoy it if I explained some of the "doubles" to you.  :)

The two instruments one is pretty easy.  Right now I'm in private organ lessons and private cello lessons.  So on Thursday the 5th, I went to campus to practice my two instruments, the organ and the cello, before embarking on the rest of my hectic day.

The next two kind of go together.  My roommate Jill had her wisdom teeth removed on the 5th.  I know, fun... So she gave me charge of her cell phone during the surgery and for a while after the surgery.  She didn't want to risk being like one of those people that reacts poorly to the anesthesia and sends random, incoherent texts to her friends or family.  Can't say I blame her.  :)  However, there was no need for that precaution.  Within a few minutes of us leaving the oral surgeon's office, it was clear to me that Jill was fully coherent and didn't seem to have any negative effects from the anesthesia beyond being a little tired and unsteady on her feet.  Lucky her.  :)    And the two trips to Wal-Mart came into effect when I had to call in and then pick up Jill's prescriptions.  The wait was long enough when I called them in that I decided to go home and then go back later to pick them up.

And now for the last one.  I've been kind of sitting on this for a little bit, but now I'm ready to come out and say it more openly.  :)  I've been asked to speak at graduation!!!  There are two different parts to graduation.  There's commencement, which is the big huge ceremony for all of BYU, and then there's convocation, which is a smaller ceremony for each of the different colleges.  And I've been asked to speak at the convocation for the McKay School of Education on April 20th!  I can't believe it!  It's one of those huge privileges that always happen to someone else.  But now it's happening to me!  So I have written two single-spaced pages of text that I will be reading in front of over 2,000 people.  Talk about scary!  But it's a huge honor, and I'm super excited!  Should be great!

Monday, April 2, 2012


I have now switched to the world of Blogger!  For those of you who might be disoriented by the change, I apologize but would like to point out that it's not totally my fault.  :)  The logistics of my blog were determined by my computer-nerdy brother.  He was the one who decided what blog sit I should use and then decided Blogger would be better for me in the long run.  Ah well.  I had fun picking out a new template for my blog, though!  :)  So those who use Google Reader or other such things will need to re-subscribe to my blog.  Otherwise, things shouldn't change too much.  (Except that I will hopefully blog more. :))  So...enjoy the new look!

(New look, same rambling nerd.  :))

Monday, March 5, 2012

Family Fun

I was going to put this part of yesterday into my previous post, but I decided that this event deserved its own post.  :)  Yesterday, after stake conference, I had the chance to go to my uncle's house for a Myers family dinner.  The fact that it was my stake conference was actually a huge blessing in that regard.  I'd missed out on the past couple of Myers family gatherings because they always took place in the early evening, and since I usually have church late, I wasn't able to get away to participate.  But since we got out an hour and a half earlier than usual yesterday (3:00 instead of 4:30!), I was able to make it this time around.  Not only that, but my aunt who lives in Seattle has been in town, and so I was able to see her as well!  What are the odds that my family, including at least one who isn't normally there, would get together on the one Sunday when I was most able to be there myself?  Not super high.  Coincidence?  I don't think so.  I'm grateful that the Lord saw fit to allow things to work out there as well as making the stake choir so incredible.  Not only did I get to participate in an amazing stake conference, but then I got to spend time with my wonderful family.  What an amazing day!

Sing with the Tongue of Angels

Yesterday was such an incredible day!  The main event was, of course, stake conference.  After two months of planning, preparing, and practicing, the time arrived yesterday for the stake choir to sing two musical numbers at stake conference, under my direction.  I don't know how many of you have seen (and would remember) my blog post from back in November when we had our last stake conference  (, but let me just say that I could copy the last paragraph from that post almost word-for-word into this post and convey my feelings from yesterday quite adequately.  :)  The only big differences would be that this time there was no co-chair (until right at the very end, so he didn't have the chance to do much), I conducted both numbers, and one of them was my own arrangement!

This stake conference was more stressful for me than the last one.  I think it was a combination of losing my co-chair and not getting a replacement, having to re-coordinate accompanists, and trying to make my arrangement work when I didn't know whether it was even possible (it's one thing to put together a performance of a song you've heard before and know that it will work and sound good; it's quite another to attempt the same feat with something you wrote and therefore have no idea how it will sound when the finished product arrives!).  So I entered the flurry of activity yesterday with a great deal of fear and concern.  I shouldn't have worried.  As with November, everything basically just fell into place.  The final practice went well, and soon it was time for stake conference to begin.  The choir sang my arrangement of "Carry On," and let me tell you---conducting that number and hearing it come to life exactly as I had heard it in my head all along was one of the most amazing things I've ever experienced.  It basically took the entire first half of the session before I could completely calm down!  Then the choir sang Mack Wilberg's arrangement of "The Lord is My Shepherd" as the closing song.  It too went more wonderfully than I could have possibly hoped or imagined, and I was thrilled!  And I had so many people come up to me afterward to compliment me on my work in putting it all together.  What an amazing experience it has been for me to be a part of that.  I'm so grateful that the Lord gave me that opportunity.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012


So I just realized I haven't updated anything on my blog in a few days.  I keep thinking of things that I think, "That would be fun to blog about," but then I'm not in a position to do it, and by the time I am, I don't think about it anymore.  Well, I'll just give you a few highlights from that past little while.  Enjoy!  :)

  • The weekend before last was, of course, President's Day weekend.  I did a lot of fun stuff that weekend, and I really enjoyed it, but there was only one problem with it: Tuesday was Monday instruction.  That meant I got my two longest, hardest days right in a row.  Ugh.  But I survived, and I never have to do that again!  Yes!  :)

  • The Symphony Orchestra performed their first of two concerts this past Wednesday.  It was a concerto concert featuring seven soloists.  I think it went really well, and I received a lot of compliments from my family and friends who attended.  I love orchestra!

  • This past weekend I visited Bridal Veil Falls with my roommate Jill.  It was beautiful!  Not many people visit there at the end of February, so we basically had the location all to ourselves.  We spent several hours there just enjoying the beauty and serenity around us.  What a lovely, peaceful place!

  • On Sunday I had a minor panic attack when I realized that stake conference is this coming Sunday and that I don't feel like I'm ready to conduct the stake choir in the numbers we've been preparing.  I feel a little more calm about it now, but let me tell you, my nerves are probably going to be as taut as a bowstring this coming Sunday!  :)

  • I mailed my acceptance letter for my mission call to the Office of the First Presidency yesterday.  You know that moment when you realize that something is happening to you that you never, ever thought would happen to you?  Yep.  :)

So those are just a few little tidbits for the few brave souls who actually read my blog.  I hope you enjoyed them!  :)

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Finding "Joy" in the Journey

I just returned from a memorial service for Melissa Joy Dietzel (  I found out about her untimely death on Tuesday and have been going through alternating stages of shock and sadness ever since.  Today's services provided a great deal of closure for me.

I didn't know Melissa all that well.  She and I were in the same ward from September of 2009 to April of 2010.  I was her visiting teacher.  During our visits, I'm pretty sure she uplifted me more than I uplifted her.  That's just the kind of person she was.  During the service, four people gave lengthy talks about what an amazing person Melissa was, and even from my limited experience of knowing her, I knew they described her well.  Hearing all of the incredible eulogies given about Melissa, I couldn't help but hope that I will be able to live my life in such a way that people will give such glowing remarks about me at my funeral someday.  Melissa truly lived up to her middle name, finding joy in the simple things in life and bringing joy to others, and I hope that I can do the same.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

And the Verdict is...

I have been called to serve as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  I have been assigned to labor in the Texas McAllen mission, preaching the gospel in the Spanish language.  I report to the MTC on June 20th.

That’s what I’ve been saying in dozens of texts and phone calls for the past four hours.  I just can’t even believe it!  This is really my mission call!  I’m really going to go to Texas in four months!  I just…it really hasn’t sunk in yet.  Every couple of minutes I just stop and think, “Wait…I just got my mission call…I’m going to Texas!”

I guarantee I won't be sleeping tonight.  :)

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Waiting is OVER! (Almost...)

There is a large white envelope sitting on the kitchen table in my family's house.

It's addressed to me from the office of the First Presidency.

Today cannot go by fast enough!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


Today during my cello lesson, I played through one of the two songs I've been working on so my teacher could see the progress I'd made.  I'd kind of been feeling like I hadn't gotten much out of my practice this week and that it would show in my lesson.  But apparently I'd made more progress than I'd thought, because my teacher was super complimentary about how I'd done!  Not only that, but she pointed out a specific measure and told me that I'd played it in a different way from how she played it and that it was different from any way she'd ever heard it but that she really liked the way I'd done it and is planning to play it my way from now on!  How cool is that?  :)  So that made me super happy.  That's all.  :)

Thursday, February 9, 2012

"Nice filter"

So today, I was chatting with some fellow ComD students, and one of them suddenly said to me, "You have a really nice filter!"  Now, my initial reaction was to wonder what on earth she was talking about.  But it only took me a nanosecond to realize that she must be in Speech Science and was therefore talking about my vocal filter.  In Speech Science, you learn about how the larynx (i.e. your vocal folds) is the source for your voice---it provides the sound.  And you learn that the vocal tract and articulators (i.e. throat, mouth, tongue, teeth, lips, etc.) are the filters that shape the sound into what we hear when someone speaks.

So when all was said and done, this girl was complimenting me on my voice.  And she went on to clarify as such.  She told me that I just have a beautiful, clear voice and that she's always noticed it and liked it.  It was one of those "you know you've been in ComD too long when..." moments: the fact that she gave the compliment by saying "you have a nice filter" and that I actually understood it.  :)  She seemed a little embarrassed after she said it, but honestly, I really appreciated it.  I don't know that I've ever had someone compliment me on my voice, at least not on my typical speaking voice.  It made my day.  :)

Wednesday, February 1, 2012


I’ve decided that I really dislike transitions. They take so much time out of my day! Take, for instance, the little two-hour window that I have in between mission prep and orchestra on Mondays and Wednesdays. I use those two hours to practice my two instruments, the cello and the organ. I also, ideally, like to have lunch sometime during that two-hour period.

So here’s how it runs: I walk from the library to the fourth floor of the HFAC to pick up my organ shoes and books from my locker, then walk down to the third floor of the HFAC to practice. I have to take five minutes to change shoes and set up the organ before I can actually start practicing and then another five minutes to pack up before I can move on. Then I go down one level and spend another five minutes collecting my cello and music from their respective locations, scouting out an available practice room, and setting up before I can begin practicing. Once I’m finished, I have to pack up and put everything away, and somewhere in there I walk back to the fourth floor to take my organ shoes back to my locker. Then I walk over to the Wilk to have lunch and walk back to the HFAC in time for orchestra.

All told, I’m pretty sure nearly a half hour of my precious two-hour window is taken up in transition time. I really wish I could just zap myself from one activity to another and eliminate travel and preparation time in between. I’m sure I’d get at least one extra hour out of my day that way. What could I do with it? Well, the possibilities are endless! What would I do with it? Probably crash from exhaustion because I didn’t have a break between activities during the day. :) So, in reality, those transition times are probably a good thing so I’m not just constantly going. But I really wish I could use those little five to ten minute intervals to relax rather than spending them constantly running from one place to the next.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Jesus, Savior, Friend

I wrote a poem on Sunday.  I'd written the first two verses several weeks ago, but I'd gotten stuck and hadn't had any further inspiration until this past Sunday.  Then the rest of it just...came to me on Sunday.  It's a little rough, but I like it.  I hope you enjoy it too.

Jesus, Savior, Friend
A humble plea, a bitter cup
Unspeakable agony;
Great drops of blood shed for the world
In the garden Gethsemane.

A crown of thorns, a purple robe,
A cross upon a tree;
Nails pierced His hands, a spear pierced His side
On a hill called Calvary.

He suffered all our sins and pains
And fell on bended knee.
He was the only one who could—
This man from Galilee

He died upon the cross because
He, only, had the key
To break the bands of death and hell
And thereby make us free.

I didn’t meet Christ on this earth;
The cross I did not see.
And yet I know that what He did
Was done for you and me.

And though I don’t deserve this gift,
I’m trying prayerfully
To be the worthy servant that
I know I ought to be.

Oh Jesus Christ, my Lord, my God,
I’m grateful unto Thee
For all that Thou has done for us,
For what you’ve done for me.

Please help me do all that I can
To serve Thee faithfully.
Thou art my best and truest friend;
I’m coming unto Thee.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Celebrations and Snowballs

Yesterday was such an awesome day!  The first part of the day was pretty nondescript---I just got a bunch of different tasks and such accomplished.  And I donated platelets, which is always good.  I was quite proud of myself when the nurse missed my vein on her first attempt on my right arm and had to try again and it barely fazed me.  It definitely still bothered me a little, but not as much as it would have five years ago!  :)

So the fun stuff of the day started at 7:30 when Jill and I hosted our joint half-birthday party.  Our birthdays are in July, but since neither of us will be living here on our birthdays, we decided to celebrate our half birthdays.  It was so fun!  A bunch of our friends came, and we all had a blast!  First we took turns playing several rounds of Mario Kart, passing the Wii remotes around so everyone had a chance to play a round or two.  I completely made a fool of myself, but it was still super fun.  :)  Then we played Disney "Scene It?", and I revealed just how much of a Disney nerd I can be.  :)  Then we just sat and chatted before everyone left.  I thought it went really well over all.  I'm always worried when I host parties that they'll be dull or that people won't enjoy themselves, but I'm pretty sure everyone had a good time, and that makes me happy.  :)

After that, Jill and I decided that we wanted to go out and the first real snowfall Provo has had all winter!  We'd been lamenting the fact that the "Provo Bubble" had seemed to include not only culture but also weather---every city around Provo was getting snow, but not us.  But we finally got snow last night!  So we went outside to play in it.  We had one of the most intense snowball fights I'd ever participated in.  It was so fun!  I'd come out in a jacket, but by the time we were done, I'd even taken off the jacket because it was too hot.  My clothes were completely soaked!  But I thought we were fairly evenly matched (though Jill probably hit me more than I hit her :)), and it was such a blast!  It was the perfect end to a wonderful day!  I love my life!

Saturday, January 21, 2012


Well, I can finally say that I've seen the movie Titanic.  I was too young to see it when it came out, and by the time I was old enough, I'd forgotten about it.  My roommate had seen the movie several times and wished that I could see it.  I remember her saying months ago, "I have it on VHS.  If we had a VCR and three hours of spare time, I'd suggest we watch it."  :)

Since I knew Jill really wanted me to see it, I decided to put the DVD on hold at the library.  It took a couple of weeks to become available.  When it did, I picked it up and brought it home but didn't say anything.  Then yesterday afternoon (I can't remember why), the subject of Titanic came up again, and I dropped the bombshell and told Jill I currently had the DVD in my possession.  She got so excited and asked if we could watch it last night.  I agreed, and we did so.

I have to admit that that movie took my breath away several times.  Despite the inappropriate scenes (which Jill had never seen but knew when they occurred, so we were able to censor them :)) and an overdose of swear words, I thought the movie was very well done.  The first half was adorable, and the second half had me completely riveted.  I cried at several points throughout the second half, and I cried hard.  Not that it's hard to make me cry in a movie :), but this one was a particular tear jerker for me.

It's always been at the back of my mind that I eventually wanted to see Titanic.  Now I can say that I have, and I'm quite glad.  :)

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


This afternoon something wonderful happened.  For one glorious hour, I got to spend time with my former roommate Allie.  She was passing through Utah on her way home and made a detour through Provo in order to have lunch with me and Jill.  It was so much fun!  I wondered whether it would feel weird or different at all to be interacting with her in person after six months apart, but it felt as natural as if she'd never left.  We laughed and shared stories and teased each other (well, mostly the other two teased me :)) just like old times.  The only thing I didn't like about it was how short it was.  It felt like we'd only been there for a few minutes when the hour was up and it was time for Allie to be on her way.  It was hard to see her go again, but that just makes me that much more excited to be able to see her again when Jill and I visit California this spring.  :)

Road trip, anyone?

Monday, January 16, 2012

Randomness Incarnate

Right now I'm sitting in the living room with all three of my roommates.  First of all, the fact that we are all here together is an anomaly in and of itself---it never happens!  Secondly, I haven't laughed this hard for a long time.  :)  Suffice it to say that 1) I love signing with Jill, 2) Becca always knows exactly what to say to get me laughing, and 3) Rachel's sense of humor is sometimes startling but quite hilarious.  I love my roommates!  :)

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Information Overload

Well, I survived the first day of classes---my last first day of my undergrad career.  How weird is that?  And I made the mistake of scheduling all of my classes for Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, with the majority of those classes being only Monday-Wednesday classes, which means they're half again as long as Monday-Wednesday-Friday classes.  Not that I had much choice---there was only one class that I could have moved to a Tuesday-Thursday slot, and that wouldn't have made much difference to my overall stress levels on Mondays and Wednesdays.  But all choice aside, the fact of the matter is that I got a double whammy yesterday, because I had to go to every single one of my classes in one day instead of half one day and half the other.  So let's just say that there are two words to describe my mindset by the end of the day: information overload.

Thankfully I went to the temple this morning (which always helps with any problem), and because I don't have any classes today, I've been able to kind of re-group and get things organized so I won't go completely insane this semester.  A word to the wise: don't ever schedule all of your classes for two days of the week unless you have a very good reason for doing so.  Or, at least, if you do...don't pay too much attention the first day of class.  :)

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

He's Watching Over Me

Well, I’m back in Provo and pretty much ready for the new semester, and all I have to say is that the last 24 hours have been…utter madness.  And also that I’m grateful that the Lord has obviously been with me every step of the way.  I know this based on at least three separate occurrences.

The first was that yesterday I finally finished the arrangement I’d been working on for weeks!  I’m going through some serious creative let-down right now, but I’m so grateful that I finished it and that it sounds just like I’d hoped it would.  I know it wasn’t my own abilities that brought it about; the Lord has been inspiring me every step of the way.

The second instance was that, even though I completely forgot to park my car that doesn’t have a parking permit outside the parking lot of my apartment complex, my car wasn’t towed before I was able to go out and move it.  It’s unheard of for cars to last more than five minutes past the towing curfew here, and yet mine was there much longer and was never towed!  Of course, I was already in bed when my roommate remembered and came to get me, but at least my desperate rush outside was to move my car and not to find an empty parking space.  Thank heaven for that!

The third instance was that I found out that the new “semester” bus passes that UTA does only work until the actual end of the semester.  The reason the Lord was watching out for me on this one was that the person driving the bus I was trying to ride to get to school in order to renew my bus pass didn’t make me pay the fare since I told her I was planning to renew my bus pass that day.  Well, now my bus pass is renewed, and I won’t make that mistake again (even if I had more semesters at BYU in which to make such a mistake!).

Well, like I said, it’s been a crazy 24 hours, but everything’s starting to settle down, and I think I’m as ready as I’ll ever be for  the semester to begin.

Bus pass: check
Textbooks: check
School supplies: check

Preparations to begin the final semester of my undergrad career: CHECK!!!